Letter: Why we bombed Iraq in the 1920s

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Sir: As part of your coverage of the Iraqi crisis, Christopher Bellamy's piece ("Tropical outpost that let the B-52s strike", 6 September) on the strategic importance of the US base at Diego Garcia made no mention of the island's tragic history. All he said was: "There is no town or civilian population on the island."

In 1967, in one of the most shameful episodes in post-war British history, the Labour government forcibly deported the islanders to Mauritius, where they lived in conditions of some hardship without adequate recompense for the loss of their homeland and businesses. Many were reported to have committed suicide. This appalling example of Cold War realpolitik enabled the Americans to have an "uninhabited" base in the Indian Ocean. In return, the Americans gave us nuclear warheads at a discount rate.


London W5